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Monday, May 18, 2009

The first page, part 7 - Indicate point of view

This is continuing my series on things to look for in your first page.
Click here for part six.

Indicate point of view

Make it obvious to the reader whose head he/she is in. Don’t leave them guessing—readers want to be grounded in the story as soon as possible.

Here is where you can utilize deep point of view and WOW that editor. Drop them into a character’s head—a character who is so fascinating and unique that they’re struck by the vibrancy of the character’s personality or completely relate to the character’s struggles.

Use deep point of view to accomplish this. Let the reader experience the character’s emotions, reactions, thoughts. Let the reader cringe or laugh when the character does. Let the reader feel everything that character feels. Let the reader know exactly what the character thinks about the things happening to him/her.

Let your reader become that character from the first sentence, until your reader is transformed by the end of page one.

Again, forgive me for using my own books as examples, but it’s just easier for me. I will boldface some of the “deep point of view” phrases for you. This is from Deadly Intent:

The man who walked into Naomi’s father’s day spa was striking enough to start a female riot.

Dark eyes swept the room, which happened to be filled with the Sonoma spa’s staff workers at that moment. His gaze glanced over Naomi like a tingling breeze. She recognized him the moment he recognized her. Dr. Devon Knightley.

For a wild moment, she thought, He’s come to see me. And her heart twirled in a riotous dance.

But only for a moment. Sure, they’d talked amiably—actually, more than amiably—at the last Zoe International fund-raiser dinner, but after an entire evening sitting next to her, he hadn’t asked for her phone number, hadn’t contacted her at all. Wasn’t that a clear sign he wasn’t interested?

She squashed the memory and stepped forward in her official capacity of the spa owner’s daughter and acting manager. “Dr. Knightley. Welcome.”


In the example above, I use techniques like direct thought (He’s come to see me) in addition to deep POV narrative (Wasn’t that a clear sign he wasn’t interested?). The second sentence isn’t direct thought, but it’s very close, which makes the narrative itself deep in the character’s head.

I also use visceral responses (tingling breeze, heart twirled in a riotous dance) and key words (wild, squashed).

Click here for part eight.

6 comments:

  1. This is great stuff, Camy! Especially in light of what I know I need to work on for my WIPs! Thanks!

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  2. Thanks, Katie! I'm glad it was helpful!
    Camy

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  3. Yes, it is good. I think you are right: in most cases the reader wants to become one with the protagonist in the story.

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  4. Thanks, Ian. These days, most novels have this type of deep point of view where the reader becomes the protagonist. While this wasn't as true in novels published 20 years ago, the industry has changed and this deep POV is more prevalent now.
    Camy

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  5. Hi Camy
    I'm enjoying your blog regularly and just wanted to thank you for the advice.

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  6. Thanks so much, Glenn! I appreciate you saying that!
    Camy

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